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Carrington v. Mnuchin

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division

January 27, 2016

John C. Carrington and Deborah T. Carrington, Plaintiffs,
v.
Steven T. Mnuchin, IMB HoldCo, LLC, and OneWest Bank, FSB, Defendants.

ORDER AND OPINION

This matter is before the court pursuant to Plaintiffs John C. Carrington and Deborah T. Carrington’s (collectively “Plaintiffs”) FRCP Rule 60(b)(3) and (6) Motion for Relief (ECF No. 44) (“Motion for Rule 60 Relief”) seeking relief from the court’s Order (ECF No. 42) filed on August 27, 2014 (the “August Order”). In the August Order, the court dismissed the claims in Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint (ECF No. 16) for the following reasons: (1) against Defendant IMB HoldCo, LLC (“IMB”), for lack of personal jurisdiction, (2) against Defendant OneWest Bank, FSB (“OneWest”), for failure to state a claim, and (3) against Defendant Steven T. Mnuchin for failure to serve within 120 days as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m). (ECF No. 42 at 20.)

For the reasons set forth below, the court DENIES Plaintiffs’ Motion for Rule 60 Relief.

I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND TO PENDING MOTION[1]

On December 6, 2013, Plaintiffs commenced this action alleging causes of action against Defendants for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (“RESPA”), 12 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2617, and state law claims for breach of contract and either fraud or breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act. (ECF No. 1.) On February 4, 2014, OneWest filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and IMB filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) and (6). (ECF Nos. 9, 10.) In response to the Motions to Dismiss relating to the Complaint, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on February 28, 2014. (ECF No. 16.) On March 27, 2014, IMB filed a Rule 12(b)(2) motion and a Rule 12(b)(6) motion and OneWest filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion as to the Amended Complaint. (ECF Nos. 22, 23.) Plaintiffs did not file a response in opposition to the Motions to Dismiss the Amended Complaint.[2] Thereafter, on August 27, 2014, the court filed the August Order (ECF No. 42) and the Clerk of Court entered the Judgment of Dismissal (ECF No. 43) for Defendants.

On August 26, 2015, Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion for Rule 60 Relief, asserting that subsections 3 and 6 of Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b) afford them relief from the August Order. (ECF No. 44.) Defendants filed a Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Rule 60(b) Motion for Relief (ECF No. 46) on September 14, 2015, to which Plaintiffs filed a Reply to Defendants’ Opposition and a Request for Evidentiary Hearing (ECF No. 47) on September 24, 2015.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) allows the court to relieve “a party . . . from a final judgment, order, or proceeding . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b); see also United States v. Winestock, 340 F.3d 200, 203-4 (4th Cir. 2003). Rule 60(b) “does not authorize a motion merely for reconsideration of a legal issue.” United States v. Williams, 674 F.2d 310, 312 (4th Cir. 1982). “Where the motion is nothing more than a request that the district court change its mind . . . it is not authorized by Rule 60(b).” Id. at 313.

A. Motions for Relief pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3)

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3), a district court can relieve a party from an adverse judgment due to “fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party.” Id. “[A] Rule 60(b)(3) motion will be granted if: (1) the moving party has a meritorious defense; (2) the misconduct is proved by clear and convincing evidence; and (3) the misconduct prevented the moving party from fully presenting its case.” Columbia Commc’n Corp. v. Echostar Satellite Corp., 2 F. App’x 360, 366 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing Schultz v. Butcher, 24 F.3d 626, 630 (4th Cir. 1994)). In this regard, Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3) provides the court with an avenue for revisiting judgments that were obtained unfairly, not judgments which the moving party merely believes were erroneous. E.g., Schultz, 24 F.3d at 631.

B. Motions for Relief pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(6)

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6) allows the court to relieve a party from an adverse judgment for “any other reason that justifies relief, ” which provision has been described as a catch-all provision. See, e.g., Fuller v. Cartlidge, C/A No. 0:09-cv-01352-RBH, 2014 WL 607475, at *2 (D.S.C. Feb. 18, 2014). However, “[r]elief under Rule 60(b)(6) is warranted only upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances that create a substantial danger that the underlying judgment was unjust.” Wojcicki v. Aiken Technical College, C/A No. 1:06-cv-00461-MBS, 2012 WL 3596161, at *2 (D.S.C. Aug. 21, 2012) (quoting Margoles v. Johns, 798 F.2d 1069, 1073 (7th Cir. 1986)); see also Reid v. Angelone, 369 F.3d 363, 370 (4th Cir. 2004) (“[A] motion under Rule 60(b)(6) may not be granted absent ‘extraordinary circumstances.’”) (citation omitted). In addition to a showing of extraordinary circumstances, a party “must make a showing of timeliness, a meritorious defense, [and] a lack of unfair prejudice to the opposing party, . . . .” Werner v. Carbo, 731 F.2d 204, 206-07 (4th Cir. 1984) (citation and internal footnote omitted).

III. ANALYSIS

A. The Parties’ ...


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